7 Funeral Livestreaming Tips for Success
By Tyler Ward, Digital Sales Manager
During the pandemic, we all saw how innovative funeral directors became.
They tried online meeting options, new ideas for services, and more.
Funeral directors also took the plunge with livestreaming funerals because they needed a way to get around the 10 guest rule in their funeral home. Read more about why you should consider livestreaming here.
However, these funeral directors ran into problems with Facebook and YouTube Live. Their services would get muted, the camera and audio quality weren’t great, and all these roadblocks prevented people from wanting to try again.
And I don’t blame them. It’s frustrating when the technology doesn’t work in front of families.
But in today’s day and age, families should be able to expect a great livestreaming experience from their funeral home. In fact, in a recent study we did of funeral consumers, we found that 42% of people are comfortable attending a funeral online.
Just 10 years ago, this number was 19%. Considering there was a 121% increase in comfort, livestreaming funerals is here to stay. But there are right and wrong ways to do it.
Do it wrong, and you have the problem I mentioned earlier. Do it right, and you can keep your funeral home competitive, connect families, build relationships, and more.
Use these 7 funeral livestreaming tips as a starting point.
Tip #1 – Think about livestreaming as a way to increase attendance.
I talk to funeral directors about the biggest problems they face, and many talk about declining attendance.
And they’re not the only ones. Churches have also been dealing with declining attendance due to the pandemic. They had to find a way to share their sermons with people who were at home in quarantine, so they started online services where viewers can worship, tithe, and hear the message from home.
Everyone wants to go back to the old days when their funeral homes were full of guests. But since families are dispersed, traveling is difficult. And people are busy, so not all guests can make it to the service. That’s where livestreaming can help. But you need to start seeing online viewers as attendees, too.
My co-worker livestreamed his mom’s funeral (with our service, Encore) and shared his experience. 80 people were in the room for his mom’s service, and 60 people were online. When he thinks of his mom’s funeral, he thinks 140 people attended, not just the 80 that were physically present. Hear him talk about his experience below:
Tip #2 – Use designated equipment.
We all love our smartphones, but using them to video record a funeral is like using your camera app to capture wedding pictures. It doesn’t make sense if you want high quality.
You need a way to broadcast the service to your audience and record the funerals for families. And you need to right tools to do that!
Here’s a list of bare minimum equipment:
A handheld camera to capture video
A tripod to stabilize your camera and let you go hands free
A microphone for audio
A laptop or tablet to monitor the livestream
A strong internet connection
You don’t need expensive cameras or microphones. Check out this Quick Start Guide for more information.
Tip #3 – Build relationships with local churches or clergy to keep you competitive.
Surprisingly, churches are competitors to funeral homes BECAUSE they offer livestreaming and video capabilities. I mentioned before that churches adopted livestreaming services to improve their attendance online during the pandemic.
If you’re noticing families not wanting services, they might be having one…just not at your funeral home. Since churches can offer livestreaming, they can cut you out of the equation. That’s why it’s important to have a strong connection with local churches. Talk to your pastor (if you have one) and build those relationships.
One of our customers, Kristen, did exactly this. She emailed us and told us how livestreaming has made her funeral home competitive and has grown her business. She wrote:
“We have families that choose our funeral home for the very fact that we livestream. But what is just as exciting as that, is the number of churches and families who are now allowing us to work their memorial services for the sole fact that we will stream it for ‘free.’ Our memorial cremation calls have passed our direct cremation calls, and that is in large part due to us offering the “free” streaming service.
We were facing a growing trend of providing cremation services and the church handling the memorial with the funeral home being excluded. Encore livestreaming has helped us to find our way back into the church, where we can provide the family with the attention to detail that they need at such a time. It simply allows us to serve better.”
Tip #4 – You get what you pay for.
“Free” livestreaming options are out there, but these options cost you in other ways, whether that be security issues or sacrificing quality. For example, NFDA doesn’t recommend people use Facebook Live. What happens is funeral homes’ livestreams get muted automatically if they play copyrighted music. And the streaming quality isn’t great because people are likely using their phones to record. Plus, families must have a Facebook account to watch funeral livestreams, which is inconvenient for the audience.
If you use a free service, be prepared to give up control over streaming quality, security, and privacy. If you pay for a service, make sure it’s worth your money – even making you money.
Tip #5 – Use it as a revenue generating service.
All businesses need revenue to grow and be profitable. Much like marketing is an investment in your business that pays off with brand awareness and leads, you should treat your livestreaming option as a way to generate revenue.
Here are a few questions to consider:
Will you charge for the service? If so, how?
Will you offer it for free to every family? Will you include it as part of your package offerings?
Will you charge for the recording of the service? How will you make sure families can access them?
With our service, Encore, I meet with funeral home owners and walk through their custom options on how to make money with this service. Set up a demo with me, and I’ll explain your options.
Tip #6 – Improve your internet speed.
Have you ever watched Netflix or a live ball game and had to wait for the video to load? If you don’t have a solid internet connection with fast speed, the same thing will happen to your funeral livestreams. That means families could miss important information or have to wait until your connection resets.
Make sure your internet upload speed is 10+ MBPS or better. That will ensure the video feed is stable, high quality, and won’t cut out. Talk to your internet provider to see if your current internet plan meets this requirement. If it doesn’t, you’d need an upgrade.
Want to check your upload speed for yourself? Simply use your internet browser and Google “speed test” from a computer connected to your funeral home’s internet. Run the test and see what you’re working with.
Tip #7 – Have a plan for everything.
Having the right equipment won’t matter if you don’t have processes in place to get your livestreaming service up and running. For livestreaming success, you need a plan for training your staff, marketing it to your community, conducting the livestreams, and more.
Learn more about these plans and how to create them here: Download this Livestreaming Quick Start Guide.
BONUS: Work with a partner to guide you through the livestreaming process step by step.
I understand you’re a funeral director, not a film director.
Learning how to livestream funerals on your own is tough, from choosing the right equipment to fixing issues in the moment. But you don’t have to be a tech expert to livestream funerals.
If you’ve tried a free livestreaming option in the past, you likely grew increasingly frustrated with its limitations and didn’t want to let families down with a subpar experience.
You can find success when you start working with a funeral livestreaming company, our service included. We’ve tested everything, and we know what works. And as we learn more, we share that advice with customers.
Working with an expert is the best way to set your funeral home up for livestreaming success. That way, you can focus all your attention on planning meaningful services.
Want more funeral livestreaming tips? Get a demo of our service today!